Tag: Adaptation

Making the Global Climate Action Agenda Shine

The prospects for COP22 in Marrakech could have been muted after the historic Paris COP. The news that the Moroccan presidency will make pre-2020 climate action the focus of COP22 made us giddy with delight!

With the Global Climate Action Agenda now formally recognised under the Paris Agreement, it can be strengthened based on the lessons learned in the first year. It was with joy that we learned that the champions for pre-2020 climate action-Laurence Tubiana and Hakima El Haité-plan to start consultations on the way forward next month.

Anxiety hit when we started getting mixed messages about the Action Agenda’s future. Is it to be a platform where any and all actions are shown? Or a platform where the most impressive initiatives are to be given due credit?

ECO has some ideas that could help as guiding principles to select/exclude initiatives for the Global Climate Action Agenda. We are certain that strong criteria, combined with a clear, efficient governance structure, should be applied to cooperative initiatives which include non-state and subnational actors. Guiding principles could be based on:

1. Significance: It is important that the initiatives have significant adaptation or mitigation benefits.

2. Transformational: The Action Agenda and TEP should represent the gold standard of initiatives that contribute to the system changes required for a low- to zero-carbon economy.

3. Science-Based: Initiatives should be based on the best available science. They should offer concrete, measurable, and time-bound objectives to help facilitate tracking progress.

4. Transparent: Strong and transparent accountability mechanisms that ensure trust, legitimacy and credibility.

5. Just and Fair: Initiatives under the Action Agenda and TEP should represent equitable solutions that do not threaten human rights or result in adverse environmental impacts.

6. Additionality:  Initiatives should enable the involved countries to deliver more emission reductions or support than they would have done otherwise.

We don’t have all the answers, but these guiding principles offer the basis for further discussion. The Global Climate Action Agenda and TEP must have the necessary integrity to ensure that they contribute to closing the ambition gap by 2020 in a manner that protects environmental integrity and human rights.

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ECO is thrilled that the first ever Technical Expert Meeting on Adaptation (TEM-A) is taking place today. The COP21 decision establishing the TEM-A not only helps to create some balance between mitigation and adaptation, but also puts greater emphasis on the gaps, needs, challenges, options and opportunities for adaptation implementation on the ground. This incorporates means of implementation, including for the improvement of climate information services, and understanding of scientific information at the national level and good practices for reducing vulnerability. This is an occasion to discover and exchange experiences from adaptation efforts in both developed and developing countries, by both Parties and non-state actors to build the adaptation pipeline for action.

The TEM-A should lead to real and concrete action on the ground. It should unlock adaptation finance, build capacity, transfer adaptation technology and build the pipeline for funded adaptation action. It is great that today’s TEM-A is kicking off the discussion, but ECO thought that it might be worth getting into the details and sharing ideas for the future.

Future adaptation TEMs could explore how to unlock support, community and ecosystem based approaches, synergies between mitigation and adaptation, adaptation in urban area, adaptation related to the built environment, adaptation based on learning from communities and indigenous peoples’ knowledge, all of which would help to inform and accelerate adaptation actions.

Scaling up near-term adaptation action is a crucial part of the mandate of the high-level champions on urgent pre-2020 action. They should highlight concrete adaptation work, demonstrate delivery in action, and further strengthen the process. We look forward to applauding the champions when they announce new and scaled up cooperative efforts on adaptation at COP22.

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Finally… Loss and Damage Discussions in Bonn

It’s great to see there is an official place to take up the issue of loss and damage at this Bonn session. Thanks to the Presidency for holding a special event on Tuesday afternoon! This is timely and urgent.

COP22 must deliver two outcomes related to the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) – its review and a new 5-year work plan. The review provides an opportunity to gather perspectives from governments and observers on whether the WIM lives up to the challenge and how it can be improved. ECO would like to remind negotiators that, in Paris, they agreed on the need to enhance action and support for addressing loss and damage. While there are discussions related to the timing of the review, we hope Parties will find a solution that allows for a substantive review including civil society input at a quick pace.

The 5-year work plan will shape the future trajectory of the WIM. Yet the implementation of the current work plan is not sufficiently advanced to draft well-founded recommendations. Should Parties agree on a skeleton of the 5-year work plan and provide further guidance next year? Or should they extend the current work plan and initiate substantive discussions on the way forward to be approved by COP23? Or should they find ways to flesh out objectives and activities in the next few months? In any case, the ExCom and Parties need to write in bold letters into their drafts: enhance action and support!

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Loss & Damage: When Insurance Isn’t Enough

The world’s poorest and most vulnerable nations–who have done the least to cause climate change–are already mobilising resources to cope with the brunt of climate-related harm. When these countries call for finance to address loss and damage, it’s just another reminder that the burden has to be shared much more fairly. It should be paid for by the historical and big polluters – both corporations and states. However, some seem to lack an understanding of what we need L&D finance for.

Climate risk insurance, which allows vulnerable nations and people to transfer risk to bodies with more stable financial bases, is only one aspect of the L&D response. Financial commitments to these risk insurance pools are certainly welcome, but one-time donations are not enough. Developed countries can and must do more to support insurance schemes. They can’t be used as a way of shifting the responsibility and cost from polluters to the vulnerable. Contributions must be sustained, predictable, support the premiums of those who cannot afford them, and increase steadily as climate damage intensifies.

Insurance is not the be-all and end-all of an effective L&D response. By definition, non-economic losses and damages, like loss of life, culture and livelihoods, not to mention land, cannot easily be compensated by payouts. Insurance schemes can’t help those without much property to insure. Remember, it’s just a start.

Vulnerable nations require a source of new and additional L&D funding that can be used for responses to slow-onset disasters, such as the relocation costs that will inevitably accompany sea level rise and desertification. Funds are also needed to provide social protection as well as post-disaster support to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, regardless of whether their national government has purchased insurance.

It’s also essential that funds for L&D response not simply be diverted from other important and underfunded needs, such as adaptation. In addition to budgetary provisions, many compelling financial mechanisms have been suggested, including levies on international air travel, bunker fuels, carbon emissions and fossil fuel extraction. It is crucial to look closely at L&D finance needs and to proactively set out a course for funding this year. This should start with the SCF [including] [recognising] loss and damage in its definition of climate finance.

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